The Food and Drug Administration yesterday rejected over-the-counter sale of the emergency contraceptive Plan B, saying that the distributor had not proven that young teens can take the drug safely without a doctor’s guidance.
The decision was an unusual repudiation of the the lopsided recommendation of the agency’s own expert advisory panel, which voted 23-4 late last year in favor of the switch and 27-0 that the drug could be safely sold over the counter.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has stated that many of the safety issues have been resolved. Despite the recommendation of its own advisory board, the FDA bowed to the pressure from the social conservatives. Thirty-three other countries have Plan B over-the-counter. Like stem-cell research, politics in the United States has once again triumphed over medicine.